112th US Open Polo Championship Final
Polo is one of the most exciting and intense sports there is, with so much action on the field, horses galloping at 60 km/h, mallets swinging and hitting a tiny ball across the 300 yards long field. And when the two best teams of the tournament meet for the featured match, the US Open Polo Championship Final, it is bound to be an explosive affair.
- Facundo Pieres 10
- Julian de Lusaretta 6
- Juan Martin Nero 10
- Steve Van Andel 0
- Rashid Al Bwardy 2
- Alejo Taranco 6
- Facundo Sola 8
- Adolfo Cambiaso 10
Orchard Hill, a veteran team, and Dubai, a new team in the US polo scene, were both undefeated when they were to face each other in the final match of the season. The stakes were high and so was the pressure.
People from all over the world flocked to the famous International Polo Club of Palm Beach. For those who could not be there, ChukkerTV was live-broadcasting the whole thing including interviews with the winning team at the end. NBC Sports in collaboration with Horseplay.tv also documented it all to show in a very special airing at 5 pm (EST) on April 30th.
Arriving at IPC it was clear to see that it was no ordinary Sunday, but the Final! Elegantly dressed men and ladies in their best polo fashion, pouring out of cars and in to the several areas around the polo field, divided by the polo fanatics on one side and the champagne clinkers on the other. My uncle’s company is one of the main sponsors of the Champagne Brunch, so most of my family joined in for the fun and to watch the sport I am so passionate about.
A helicopter brought in the coveted trophy and after the National Anthem was sung and the teams presented, it was show time. This was definitely the most exciting match of the tournament, not only because it meant the final, but also because these were the two best teams of the championship, both undefeated, some of the very best players in the world, including the top 3 players in the world out there chasing each other up and down the field. Dubai being a new team in the US Open, had the extra challenge of proving themselves whilst for Orchard Hill, this was the 5th time they had made it to the final, without having a victory yet.
Dubai got off to a strong start, Adolfo Cambiaso showing why he is the number 1 player in the world, leading 3-1 by the end of the first chukker, but Orchard Hill fought back and by half time they were in the lead and it was time to divot-stomp and take pictures 🙂
The second half of the game was just as tight, with the teams being paired in the 4th chukker, Dubai took the lead in the 5th and Facundo Pieres made sure they were equal by the end of the 6th taking the game in to overtime.
When a 7th chukker is played, whoever scores first wins the match, which is why this goal is called the ‘Golden Goal’. Dubai almost had it, but then some great teamwork by JuanMa Nero and Facundo Pieres resulted in Facundo scoring his 11th goal of the day and consequently winning the 112th US Open Polo Championship and the crowd exploded in cheer.
Goal progression Orchard Hill: 1-3, 4-3, 7-5, 8-8, 9-10, 12-12, 13-12
As the team rode back in, their camp broke out in pure, euphoric celebration. Jumping around, spraying champagne and cheering, a truly special moment for the whole organization, family and friends. After 5 years of hard work they deserved it.
Check out my other posts about the US Open Facts and Stats, What is Polo? and Polo Handicaps to learn more about this great sport and Championship. And make sure to submit your e-mail address at the box in the top right corner, to get these blogposts right in your e-mail inbox!